Immunological abnormalities are implicated in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), that is, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. In particular, Crohn's disease is considered to be a T helper type 1 (Th1)-shifted disease. Chemokines and their receptors are involved in various immune responses including Th1- and Th2 responses. In this study, we analyzed chemokines and their receptors by immunohistochemistry, using frozen sections derived from 33 patients with Crohn's disease and 24 with ulcerative colitis. In inflamed mucosa, small mononuclear cells predominantly expressed CCR5 and CXCR3, the receptors selectively expressed on Th1 cells, without significant differences between Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. We then focused on the noncaseating granulomas that are characteristic of Crohn's disease. Granuloma cells, observed in all the layers of intestinal tissues, were positive for RANTES/CCL5 protein along their cell membranes. Lymphocytes surrounding granulomas were mostly CCR5+ and CXCR3+ T cells with CD4+ and CD8+ cells at similar frequencies. Granuloma cells were positive for RANTES mRNA by in situ hybridization. By contrast, lymphoid aggregates in Crohn's disease and lymphoid follicles in the normal intestinal mucosa were characterized by abundant B cells, a predominance of CD4+ T cells over CD8+ T cells, and low frequencies of cells expressing CCR5 or CXCR3. Together with the notion that granuloma cells are possible antigen-presenting cells, our results suggest that the noncaseating granulomas could be one of the crucial sites of Th1-shifted immune responses in Crohn's disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology